Cyborg Cockroaches Detect and Trace Sound (Video)

The technology is designed to help emergency personnel find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.Image: Eric Whitmire

The technology is designed to help emergency personnel find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.
Image: Eric Whitmire

Science can be a strange and wondrous world of extraordinary innovation and unbelievable discovery. Now, one of our favorite scientific innovations has made its return: the cyborg cockroach.

As you may remember, ECS Board Member and Senior VP Dan Scherson once co-authored a paper that detailed how a cyborg cockroach can generate and transmit signals wirelessly. (You can check paper out here – it’s open access!)

Now cyborg cockroaches are making their way back into science with a new study that uses the roaches to pick up sounds with small microphones and seek out the source of that sound.

The purpose of this development is to help emergency personnel find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of an accident.

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Magnetic Graphene

New research could lead to new multi-functional electronic devices.

New research could lead to new multi-functional electronic devices.

Graphene is regarded by many as a wonder material and hosts a multitude of amazing properties, but magnetism has never been one of them. The only way to make the material magnetic is by doping it with magnetic imputrites, but that tends to negatively impact its electronic properties. Now, a team of physicists at the University of California, Riverside decided to address this issue by finding a way to induce magnetism in graphene while also preserving its magnetic properties.

To do this, the team brought a graphene sheet very close to a magnetic insulator – an electrical insulator with magnetic properties.

“This is the first time the graphene has been made magnetic this way,” said Jing Shi, a professor of physics and astronomy, whose lab led the research. “The magnetic graphene acquires new electronic properties so that new quantum phenomena can arise. These properties can lead to new electronic devices that are more robust and multi-functional.”

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Discovery Brings Invisibility Closer to Reality

UA Engineering professor Hao Xin has overcome a major research hurdle in the race to build invisibility cloaks and other fantastical devices.

UA Engineering professor Hao Xin has overcome a major research hurdle in the race to build invisibility cloaks and other fantastical devices.

In the scientific race to build fantastical devices such as invisibility cloaks, University of Arizona engineering professor Hao Xin is at the forefront.

His new discovery uses metamaterials – artificial materials engineered to bend electromagnetic, acoustic and other types of waves in ways not possible in nature – to take us one step closer to building microscopes with superlenses that see molecular-level details, therefore bringing us closer to the reality of building shields that could conceal military airplanes and people.

By using a 3-D printer to make metamaterials, Xin is able to configure objects in precise geometrical patterns to bend waves of energy in unnatural ways. Doing this allows researchers to tap into a property call negative refraction, meaning they can bend waves backwards.

In the future, someone wearing a cloak that has been manufactured with these artificially designed refraction properties would appear invisible.

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Everybody Writes, Nobody Reads

May it be then a reward to all the Interface authors to know that there is a crowd of people who read their work.

May it be then a reward to all the Interface authors to know that there is a crowd of people who read their work.

An article by Interface Co-Editor Petr Vanysek in the latest issue of the publication.

I am happy to report that people read Interface magazine. Just the other day I received a long letter commenting on the usefulness of the topical articles, this one specifically detailing the issue dealing with ionic liquids. The message of the letter was that the reviews in Interface are just as useful as the summary articles in peer-reviewed publications. Another reader, reacting to the side remark I made in my recent editorial about opening a dog kennel, wanted to unload his German shepherds on me. Yet another letter mentioned the Classics column and how nice it was to read recollections about scientists, written by other scientists and colleagues.

Interface does not have an officially gauged impact factor and we do not have a good measure of how well and thoroughly this magazine is read. Still, we like to hear that it is a useful medium for the members, the advertisers, and anybody else who may follow what shows up in our quarterly.

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Jet-Propelled Micromotors Swim Through Body

The jet-propelled motors can swim though gastric acid by reducing hydrogen ions into hydrogen gas.Image: ACS Nano

The jet-propelled motors can swim though gastric acid by reducing hydrogen ions into hydrogen gas.
Image: ACS Nano

In a new study, researchers have developed a micromotor that can propel itself though the body to the stomach lining to deliver cargo.

While engineers have been developing micromotors for some time, it wasn’t until now that anyone has tested the device inside an animal. Researchers state that the results of this experiment show the potential of motorized particles to possibly improve the functions of nanoparticle drug carriers and imaging agents.

The micromotors were tested on mice to see the motor’s ability when delivering cargo to the stomach walls. Because the particles are jet-propelled, the researchers believed that they would be able to penetrate the layer of thick mucus that lines the stomach.

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Nanotechnology to Make More Affordable Solar Cells

The new composite's behavior also improved its performance, which could ultimately help to lower the cost of materials used in solar cells and other electronic devices.Image: Sun Seeker

The new composite’s behavior also improved its performance, which could ultimately help to lower the cost of materials used in solar cells and other electronic devices.
Image: Sun Seeker

With climate change being a continually rising global dilemma, many scientist have turned their attention to research in the area of renewable energy sources. Even with some of the most brilliant minds working on improving efficiency and price of solar cells, they are still not widely used due to the high cost of materials used to develop the them. Now, a scientist may be on the path to cracking the code on material prices of solar cells by using nanotechnology.

Elijah Thimsen, assistant professor at the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis, worked in conjunction with a team of engineers at the University of Minnesota to develop a technique to increase the performance of electrical conductivity.

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Laser Technology Creates Super-Hydrophobic Material (Video)

Professor Chunlei Guo has developed a technique that uses lasers to render materials hydrophobic, illustrated in this image of a water droplet bouncing off a treated sample.Photo: J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

Professor Chunlei Guo has developed a technique that uses lasers to render materials hydrophobic, illustrated in this image of a water droplet bouncing off a treated sample.
Photo: J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

New super-hydrophobic metals developed at the University of Rochester could mean big things for solar innovation and sanitation initiatives.

The researchers, led by Professor Chunlei Guo, have developed a technique that uses lasers to render materials extremely water repellant, thus resulting in rust-free metals.

Professor Guo’s research in novel not in the sense that he and his team are creating water resistant materials, instead they are creating a new way to develop these super-hydrophobic materials by taking away reliance on chemical coatings and shifting to laser technology.

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Development in Lithium-Ion Batteries

In some batteries, dendrites are lithium formations that grow while batteries are being recharged, adding layers that resemble tree rings, with each layer representing a single recharge.

In some batteries, dendrites are lithium formations that grow while batteries are being recharged, adding layers that resemble tree rings, with each layer representing a single recharge.

You can thank “dendrites” when your smartphone battery goes from a solid 40 percent charge to completely dead in a matter of 20 minutes. Thankfully, researchers out of Purdue University are researching these dendrites – otherwise known as the slayer of lithium-ion batteries – and developing something that could greatly improve the li-ion.

Dendrites work to destroy lithium-ion batteries by forming an anode electrode and growing until they affect battery performance – potentially resulting in complete battery failure.

The new study out of Purdue University explores this issue with the intention of creating a safer and longer-lasting lithium-ion battery that could be charged within minutes instead of hours.

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Member Spotlight – Alireza Mahdavifar

ECS student member Alireza Mahdavifar observes live bacteria moving inside the microfluidic channel.Image: Georgia Tech/The Poultry Site

ECS student member Alireza Mahdavifar observes live bacteria moving inside the microfluidic channel.
Image: Georgia Tech/The Poultry Site

Along with a team of researchers out of Georgia Tech, ECS student member Alireza Mahdavifar has designed and fabricated the prototype of a microfluidic device that exploits cell movement to separate live and dead bacteria during food processing.

The research, entitled “A Nitrocellulose-Based Microfluidic Device for Generation of Concentration Gradients and Study of Bacterial Chemotaxis,” has been recently published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society.

The new development consists of a microfluidic device that exploits cell movement to separate live and dead bacterial during food processing. The device is novel due to the fact that while screening for foodborne pathogens, it can be difficult to distinguish between viable and non-viable bacteria. Mahdavifar and the team out of Georgia Tech responded to this issue by creating a device that can separate live cells from dead ones for real-time pathogen detection.

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Meet the Glasgow Organizers

Glasgow_blog_imageThe ECS Conference on Electrochemical Energy Conversion & Storage with SOFC-XIV convening in Glasgow, Scotland at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre from July 26-31, 2015 is the first of a series of planned biennial conferences in Europe by ECS on electrochemical energy conversion/storage materials, concepts, and systems.

We are creating a forum where scientists and engineers can come together and discuss fundamental advances and engineering innovations.

Abstracts are due February 20, 2015
Find out more about submitting your abstract today!

The lead organizers of this conference are among the top researchers in their respective fields. We wanted to take a moment to introduce them to you:

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